Alice au pays des merveilles

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Lewis Carroll

Scout (Jean Louise) Finch — Scout is both the protagonist and the narrator of the book. She lives with her brother, Jem, and her father, Atticus. She has no mother. Also living in their household is their black cook, Calpurnia. Later in the story, Atticus' sister, Alexandra, also lives with them. The family resides in Maycomb, which is designed to be a generic, Southern town. Scout is a tomboy, but she is also very kind and very smart. Even though she has a lot of combativeness in her, she also has faith in the idea that people (especially those who live in her community) are basically good at heart. This belief is tested during the book, because she sees all the hatred and the prejudice that surrounds the trial of Tom Robinson. So much anger in the community was not something she expected, and it is hard for her to deal with that from people she felt comfortable with in the past. Still, she eventually becomes more grown-up in her opinion of others, and that helps her to continue to appreciate the goodness of people without ignoring or glossing over their failings.

Jem (Jeremy Atticus) Finch — Jem is Scout's brother. They are also good friends and they always play together. He is stereotypically an "American boy" in that he dreams of playing football. He is also serious about what others think of him, and he is not one to back down if he is dared to do something – even if it is risky or silly. He is four years older than his sister, so throughout the novel he begins to distance himself from her just a little. Still, he stays relatively close to her and continues to protect her. During the story, he moves into adolescence. When he sees the Tom Robinson trial and how it concludes, he finds that the sense of justice he held as a young boy is badly shaken, because he cannot understand the cruelty of people – and did not know of that cruelty when he was younger.

Atticus Finch — Atticus is a widower, having lost his wife some years before. He is also the father of Jem and Scout, and he works as a lawyer. He comes from a local family in Maycomb, and has strong roots in the town. He has a dry sense of humor, and has instilled both justice and morality into his children from their earliest days. He continues to do so throughout the novel. As a contrast to most of the other white people in the town, Atticus is very committed to seeing equality between the black and white citizens who live there. His willingness to defend Tom Robinson, who is black and has been accused of raping a white woman, earns him the anger of most of the town. It also affects the way his children are treated by their peers and even by adults. He also provides a lot of morality for the novel, however, because his convictions are strong and his empathy and wisdom appear to be equally as strong as, if not stronger than, his moral convictions.

Boo (Arthur) Radley — Boo never leaves his house, and lives as a recluse. The townspeople never see him, but that does not stop Scout, Jem, and Dill from making up stories about him and acting them out when they play. Throughout the novel, Boo becomes one of the most powerful symbols of good when there is so much evil being seen. Initially, Boo seems spooky and creepy, but as the novel progresses it is easy to see that he is only different. Emotionally damaged by a cruel father, Boo is very intelligent and is able to save Scout and Jem from harm, along with leaving them gifts and presents. He shows what kind of threat evil actually poses to goodness and to innocence. He is one of the "mockingbirds" alluded to in the title – a person who is (and always was) good, but who has become reclusive and injured by the evil in the world. It has forever changed him, but yet he has not lost his own desire to be good and care for others.

Bob Ewell — he is often drunk, and generally unemployed. He comes from the poorest family in Maycomb, and has no aspirations to better himself or his family. He makes an accusation against Tom Robinson that he knows is false, stating that Robinson, who is black, raped Ewell's daughter. Ewell epitomizes everything that is stereotypical and dark about the South, such as racial prejudice, poverty, ignorance, living in squalor, and a lack of class and compassion for others.

Mayella Ewell — Mayella is the daughter of Bob Ewell. She is a lonely young woman, and is often unhappy. There are concerns that she is being abused by her father. It is easy to pity her because of her mistreatment, but her false accusations of rape against Tom Robinson are shameful and cannot be ignored.

Tom Robinson — Tom is the accused. He is a field hand who is enticed by Mayella Ewell. When they are caught by her father, Tom is accused of rape by Mayella to cover her shame. He is a powerful symbol of good and innocence, and how it can be destroyed by the evil of society.

Dill (Charles Baker) Harris — Dill is a friend of both Jem and Scout, and also their neighbor every summer. He is small but very confident in himself, and his imagination is quite active. His role in the novel is to show the innocence of childhood and remind the reader that there is a time and a place to be young. His fascination with Boo Radley grows throughout the story.

Calpurnia — Calpurnia works as a cook for the Finches. She is a no-nonsense black woman as well as a good disciplinarian, and she helps to bridge the gap between the predominantly white (and often racist) world in which Atticus' children live and her own community.

Miss Maudie Atkinson — Miss Atkinson is the neighbor of the Finches. She is a friend of the family – and has been for a long time – but she has a very sharp tongue. Her husband has passed on, and she lives alone. Maudie is similar in age to Jack, who is the younger brother of Atticus, and she is deeply committed to seeing fairness and justice done. Among all the non-family-member adults in all of Maycomb, she is the best friend of the Finch children.

Alexandra — She is the Aunt of Jem and Scout, and sister of Atticus. Alexandra is highly devoted to her family and has a very strong will. She is also a Southern lady, with all the stereotypes that come along with that designation. Tradition and propriety are very important to her, and because she is so "proper" and Scout is quite the tomboy, they often class. Still, it is clear they love each other.

Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose — Mrs. Dubose is racist, bad-tempered, and very elderly. She lives close to the Finches, and Jem thinks she is a terrible woman. What he does not know, though, is that she has spent a very long time battling her addiction to morphine. Despite her other faults, Atticus admires her courage and how she handles her struggle.

Link DeasLink employs Tom Robinson. Deas is an important minor character, because he focuses on what Tom does, and what kind of character he has, as opposed to his race. Deas is, essentially, "color blind" in that race does not matter at all to him. He shows the complete opposite of the prejudice displayed by so many others in the story.

Mr. Underwood — Underwood publishes the local newspaper in Maycomb. He is a good ally to Atticus, because it is clear he has a lot of respect for the lawyer.

Heck Tate — Heck is the Maycomb sheriff, and one of the most important witnesses at the trial of Tom Robinson. He is a good man, and one of the things he works for every day is protecting innocent people and keeping them out of danger.

Nathan Radley — Nathan is the older brother of Boo (Arthur) Radley. He is a cruel man, and Scout judges him to be similar to his and Boo's father, who has been dead for some time. When Nathan fills the knothole in the tree where Boo was leaving presents for Jem and Scout, he cuts off something very important in their relationship. He does not seem to care about that, though, and has his own agenda which does not include helping his brother make friends or being kind to children.

Mr. Dolphus Raymond — Raymond is white and wealthy. He lives in Maycomb with his black mistress. They have several children together. He acts as though he is a drunk, and that gives the people who live in Maycomb an explanation they can use for the way he behaves. In reality, though, he is not drunk. He is tired of how hypocritical white society has become, and he would rather live among black people, who generally do not act that way.

Mr. Walter Cunningham — He is a poor farmer, and one of the people who wanted to go to the jail for the purposes of lynching Tom Robinson. However, he shows his good side at that same jail, when the politeness and good nature of Scout leads him to convince the mob of men to disperse and stop the idea of lynching.

Walter Cunningham — Walter is the son of Mr. Walter Cunningham. He goes to school with Scout. He ends up getting Scout into trouble one day, when he cannot afford to buy his lunch at school.

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